I did it again. For the third time. And as much as it is what I dreamed of and wanted, I have to be honest… kids have a way of disrupting any rhythm or routine. So, for me, the fact that I have done this now three times is amazing.
Today I saw a young, glowing, and beautiful pregnant girl. You have to understand…my idea of young has evolved. Since having kids, I feel I have aged drastically. So a first time pregnant woman looks stunning compared to how I feel and how I feel I look. As I admired her and her adorable maternity outfit, my heart sank for her. I cringed a tiny bit for her. Even as she expressed how excited she is, which I believe is true, I can’t help but think that her world is about to be rocked. Sure, in a beautiful way, and for an incredible reason, but still, rocked.
“Get as much sleep as possible now,” was the line I kept hearing throughout my entire first pregnancy. I kept thinking to myself, “What the hell is wrong with people? Am I supposed to just lay on the couch and accumulate nap hours?” But, the fact is, until that first baby comes out, one cannot imagine how their life is going to change. It’s impossible to know or understand until it happens. Before pregnancy and even during, I had my days mapped out. I woke up in the morning, went to the gym, worked out for as long as I desired, came home, took a nice, long shower, and then sat and watched The Today Show while enjoying a hot cup of coffee and my muffin. I worked a full day, and came home to take a late afternoon nap before dinner. My meals were scheduled, and timed perfectly each day. Following dinner, I took my daily trip to the frozen yogurt shop to treat myself to my favorite dessert. You can call it OCD… to a tee. Then, he was born. My first son.
Sleep? Not at all. Meals? I could barely find time to shower, how was I supposed to find time to eat? And exercise… my vice, priority, and enjoyment…what was I supposed to do with this living thing while I went for a run? Didn’t happen. And if it did, it was because my mom was in town visiting. But even then I always felt so rushed to get back to this new baby of mine. Whatever it was that I had previously done for myself quickly went by the wayside. My new life was being dictated by this tiny creature’s feeding, sleeping, and pooping schedule. I had no control of when he was going to scream for a bottle, when he was going to poop, or how long he would sleep. I had no control of when he got sick and we had to rush to the pediatrician. The truth is, I really didn’t have much control of anything.
But then he looked at me and smiled. And my heart melted. The love that I had for my first born made all the havoc worth it. There was nothing like it.
So as I smiled at this pregnant girl, I thought, “Honey, you have no clue what you’re in for. It is a beautiful thing to have a baby, but hold on tight. You’re about to go for a ride you have never experienced. But know that while you are sleep deprived and creating a new normal, your baby’s love, smile and sounds remind you of why you are doing this.”
Once I got my baby on a schedule, life became a little more predictable. It became more manageable and more fun. So I thought, this is great.. let’s do it again. I found out I was pregnant right before my first turned one. They are 19 months apart. And, once again, my predictable schedule I had established between myself and my first born was rocked again. And, I was juggling two schedules.
And now I am juggling three schedules, three children under the age of five, and three different needs…all at the same time. The predictability is nonexistent. The schedule has been shaken up completely. And, we are back to square one. Chaotic days, no time for myself and my desires, and on my toes every step of the way. It hurts me sometimes to not be able to walk out my front door when I want, and just go for a run. It hurts me sometimes when I would love to lay down for a nap, but I have kids screaming, or demanding my help. It hurts me sometimes when I want to just watch a show.
But then my five year old tells me how much he loves me. My three year old wraps his arms so tightly around my neck and gives me the biggest kiss. My three-week-old smiles in his sleep. And my two older boys each kiss the baby. My heart is full. The love I have surrounding me right now is better than anything I could ever imagine. The lack of routines, schedules, and rigidity is far worth it when I look and admire the three beautiful boys we have created.
One day I know I’ll look back on these days and miss them. I know I will want them back. And I know one day I’ll have all the time in the world for myself, but dislike the quiet time or idle time. It’s just hard to imagine right now. I am doing my best to embrace these days, enjoy the good moments, and appreciate my toddlers and baby. But it can be very challenging. And, it’s ok to admit it.